Listed building to be restored as plans get council green light

A listed former gas holder site is to be restored as part of a new development.

Watford Borough Council passed plans to renovate and repair Frogmore House and garden, a Grade II listed building which was built in 1716, but fell into disrepair by the 1990s.

In addition to the restoration, the site will see 92 new flats and a Lidl supermarket built next door to the house to provide jobs and homes for the area.

The restoration of the house, located in Lower High Street, will cost £2million to bring it back into active use and all but the single-storey extension will be retained, preserving the historical aspect of the building.

There will be a commuted payment of £750,000 towards the provision of affordable housing.

Cllr Iain Sharpe, council cabinet member for regeneration and development, said: “We are very proud of Watford’s heritage and have agreed to these plans to revive a locally loved building.

“Frogmore House has fallen into disrepair and has remained vacant for a number of years.

“The property has a lot of history and it is important for us, local residents and the town that the building is preserved.”

The building is listed on Historic England’s national ‘Heritage at Risk’ register due to its need for urgent renovation, and the council hopes the redevelopment plan will see it removed from the list after years of neglect.

The River Colne’s concrete embankment will also be replaced with a landscaped sloped embankment as part of the plan, in order to improve the look of the area and reduce the flood risk, and the site will be decontaminated to protect wildlife due to the gas holder which, though it has already been removed, has left contaminated land and concrete.

At a development management committee at Watford Town Hall last night, cllr Steven Johnson, who represents the Tudor Ward, was concerned about the air quality in the area being affected.

He said: “It has always been an issue in that area.”

However, he was reassured by planning officers that it had been reviewed and was not deemed a concern.

The planning committee voted unanimously for the plans to go ahead.